Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 29 August 2016

2016 Vignes, Vins, Randos – Val de Loire 3rd & 4th September

It is that time of year again – Vignes, Vins, Randos 2016 is on this coming weekend Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September. Full details here

Unfortunately I have never been in the Loire recently in time for Vignes, Vins, Randos, which is a pity as I have friends who speak highly of these events. Insread a tend to come to the Loire a week or so later for the harvest.  

This year's Randos from West to East:

Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine La Haye-Fouassière 
Coteaux d'Ancenis
Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru/Coteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume
Anjou Villages Brissac
Coteaux de l'Aubance 
Saumur Brut Fines Bulles
Saumur Champigny
Touraine Azay-le-Rideaux
Jasnières/Coteaux du Loir 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

1974 California Zinfandel, Angelo Papagni

Last week I was asked by Jenny to give her some advice on some wine that she had brought up from a friend's cellar in Edinburgh. The wine had been bought by the friend's late husband during a number of trips to France during the 1970s and perhaps into the 80s. 

The majority of the wines were French: from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Beaujolais. A good number were from the 1970 and 1976 vintages. We agreed that I would separate out those that had the potential to be enjoyed when friends came round and those that were worth trying but probably best tried by Jenny on her own. I stressed that she should pull the cork on all of the wines as you never know what is drinkable and what isn't. There are always surprises.

There were about 40-45 bottles. At the end Jenny invited me to choose one to take away in compensation for my advice. I chose the 1974 Zinfandel from Angelo Papagni in Madera, California

At nearly 42 years old the Papagni Zinfandel has stood up well – quite bricky in colour but still with sweet, spicy fruit and some length. It may not have been at its very best but the 74 Zinfandel was still an enjoyable glass of wine. Nor was it over-alcoholic – just 12.5%.  

The wine estate is still in family hands: it is now run by Demetrio Papagni. Unfortunately the business has been through its problems – both Angelo and Demetrio spent time in prison during the 1990s for passing off cheaper Barbera as White Zinfandel. The family business had over-extended during the late 1980s. See this news report by Dan Berger in the Los Angeles Times in November 1993. 

Despite this scandal, the Papagni appears to have survived. Alicante Bouchet is one of their specialitiesno sign of any Zinfandel for sale now.     


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Harley Davidsons parade at Aviemore: 27th August 2016

 Hundreds line Aviemore's main street – here by the railway station  
– waiting for the Harleys to head out on the afternoon rally
(above and below)

We went up to Aviemore – 15 miles to the North of Newtonmore – to see what was happening with the annual Thunder in the Glens. We arrived in time to catch the start of the Saturday rally out to Grantown-on-Spey.  

Part of the huge pack of Harleys 
headed out of Aviemore  
(above and below)

A mini-Harley.....

Earlier two Harleys in Newtonmore